In recent years, cases of human trafficking and child sexual exploitation have hit the news, with several high profile cases covering the front pages. It’s something that is often hidden well, so much so that it is a shock to some to learn that it is happening all around the country on a daily basis.
The Home Office estimates 13,000 people may be held in the UK in modern slavery, so it’s important to be vigilant. Taxi drivers come into contact with a large range of passengers so it is essential that they know how to deal with a vulnerable person should they come across one. Here are some of the things taxi drivers can do to spot and report any suspicious activity.
Making the passenger feel comfortable
Those who are vulnerable are often scared and may not feel safe in the car. Always display your licence and company information to help them feel more at ease. Keep the conversation professional, don’t make it personal and never exchange contact details. If they are obviously distressed, you can offer to call your head office to give details of the journey to help them feel safer knowing that someone is aware of their location and approximate time of arrival. One of the most important tips is to ask if you feel someone needs help, don’t ever presume.
What can companies do?
Ensuring that your drivers have a basic DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check is a start to ensuring that they are fit to come into contact with vulnerable people. You are able to apply for one through sites such as Basic DBS Check and can select different levels of disclosure, as well as the basic DBS check. Appoint a safeguarding contact so employees are able to ask for advice and learn how to act should a situation arise. You can also check with your local council to see if they have relevant window stickers or contact cards to display in cars to encourage vulnerable people to ask for help.
If you believe they are being exploited
If there is an imminent risk, phone 999 to report any issues regarding a vulnerable person. If you believe someone may be a victim, you can also call 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 to report it.